Modern economics has largely ignored the issue of outright conflict as an alternative way of allocating goods, assuming instead the existence of well-defined property rights enforced by an undefined third party. And yet even in ostensibly peaceful market transactions, conflict exists as an outside option, sometimes constraining the outcomes reached through voluntary agreement. In this volume, economists offer a crucial rational-choice perspective on conflict, using methodological approaches that range from the game theoretic to the experimental.
Several chapters use the recently developed contest success function to model conflict, examining such topics as alliance formation, regional conflicts under fiscal federalism, coups d’etat in developing countries, and the correlation between conflict and economic growth in Bolivia. Other chapters consider subjects that include the link between occupational choices and antigovernment activity in Afghanistan, social unrest and the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program, and the effect of Tajikistan’s civil war on ex-combatants’ capacity for trust and cooperation.
Taken together, these contributions show that economics needs a theory of conflict to understand both outright conflict and transactions in the shadow of conflict. But beyond this, they show that the study of conflict also needs the rigorous, methodology-based perspectives of economics.
Contributors Vincenzo Bove, Raul Caruso, Alessandra Cassar, Jacopo Costa, Maria Cubel, Leandro Elia, Jose Luis Evia, Davide Fiaschi, Pauline Grosjean, Ruixue Jia, Kai A. Konrad, Roberto Laserna, Pinghan Liang, Roberto Ricciuti, Stergios Skaperdas, Caleb Stroup, Karl Wärneryd, Sam Whitt, Ben Zissimos